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Saudi cement shortage leads to urgent royal decree

Saudi Arabia’s ambitious building programme is consuming so much cement that King Abdullah has issued an urgent directive to build more cement plants – and for existing plants to import 10 million extra tons, quickly.

The Saudi Press Agency said that the King has taken action to address huge demand in the country, where mega-projects in housing, infrastructure and whole new cities are underway.

Construction near Riyadh’s Kingdom Tower. (Andrew Shenouda)

Around $800m has been set aside to build up to four new cement factories with a total production capacity of 12 million tons.

The Kingdom’s minister of commerce and industry, Dr Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, said: “The royal directives will end what is being currently witnessed by the domestic market of scarcity of cement through compelling all factories to import quickly a total of 10 million tons of additional cement to cover the needs of their markets in addition to what is produced now, and the long-term solutions to meet the needs of the coming years to quickly create three to four new factories.”